March is a month dedicated to celebrating women who have made history and are currently in the process of making history. Despite the many challenges that women have and now face; they have always managed to defy the stigmas and stereotypes placed against them in society — one of those issues being the external representation of women and ideal body image.
Photoshopping, altering; directly and indirectly body shaming the female appearance has been prevalent in traditional and mainstream media for decades. However, despite the "ideal" beauty standards emphasized on media outlets such as Instagram; the body-positive movement has gained momentum throughout the years. The efforts to decrease false-representation of the women's body by digital tampering and misleading messages is an on-going battle.
The fight has had many voices such as actresses, musicians, models, and influencers that have used their platforms to shift the paradigm and address body positivity. Two women whose voices are loud, proud and are charting the direction of the movement today are Lizzo and Jameela Jamil.
Jameela Jamil, activist, and actress on NBC's The Good Place has used her platform to address and highlight the toxicity and dangers behind influencer marketing promoting products like appetite suppressants and diet teas. These suppressants have no long-lasting health benefits and inadvertently shame women in to thinking their flaws are a problem; and purchasing their products will fix these "flaws". Jamil emphasizes how the corrective beauty industry sells fear to women, which is ultimately further adding to the ongoing battle of body positivity or body neutrality.
About a year ago, Jamil used her platform to start a movement called I Weigh; which is a movement for women to feel valuable and empowered beyond just their exterior. On February 20th, Jamil made a post promoting an Aerie's campaign; while thanking Aerie for not photoshopping something as normal as her arm hair.
Melissa Jefferson, better known as Lizzo is an American singer, songwriter, and musician that has used her music and platform to embrace individuality, female sexuality, inclusivity, and overall empowerment. Lizzo has also used her platform to speak up against the lack of inclusivity in the fashion industry and designers who won't dress plus-size women.
In her recent interview with Allure, Lizzo says, "If you're not making clothes for me, and if you don't want to make clothes for me, I don't want to wear your [designs]. I look good in other things anyway. But if you want to change the game and dress a fat body, call me."
Lizzo has made it clear that body-positivity is a movement that is a part of who she is , and it will always be a part of what she continues to tell through her music; regardless if it is labeled as feminist, pro-black, or body-positive those are a part of her story.
As time continues to shift, women like Jameela Jamil and Lizzo will continue to make history and promote self-acceptance in a society that tries to define you, limit you, and redirect the trajectory towards self-love. There have been so many voices throughout history that are loud and wrong; trying to dictate the narrative of being a woman, but luckily, we have women who are loud and proud using their voices to speak the truth as we continue to write her-story, our story.